Facing Your Flaws

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You ever have one of those days where you’re looking in the mirror and all you see are your wrinkles, blemishes and flaws?  Sometimes yes we have an acne breakout, but sometimes it’s just that our vision is focused on what is wrong versus what is right.

While we have discussed the value of loving yourself and what keeps self care healthy, it is equally important to address what a healthy response to our flaws is. This is because, we can twist self care into trying to become perfect instead of extending grace to our limits and imperfections.  I hear it said “it is our flaws that add character to us”, or in this age of social media, we like to brush over those flaws with filters and Photoshop. But the truth is we can’t cover up our flaws and expect to remain healthy or be fully effective in how we love ourselves.

In the book “Artisan Soul” by Erwin McManus, there is a chapter that stands out to me the most.  He discusses the beauty of accepting the limitation of the medium you’re given to make art. It is in that place that an artist can actually find the mechanism to create the most beautiful creations.  I’d like to propose, we too should face our lives the way an artist does a specific medium. Instead of trying to deny the limitations (or flaws) or ignore, what if we decide to learn about them to the point that it drives innovation and your life becomes a masterpiece?

I haven’t been able to get away from thinking about what it would be like to live “naked and unashamed” like Adam and Eve did in the garden.  No I don’t want to join a nudist colony. What I mean by living naked and unashamed is to live in such a way where my flaws are accepted and owned to the point I don’t seek to try to cover them up. I think that is what it looks like to accept our limitations and instead of them hindering us, giving them the room to become the place where God uses us the most.  You see any time I’ve been ashamed by the scars and blemishes of my life or character, each time my Heavenly Father reminds me it is in those spaces He works best. I’m then able to walk with full confidence, because it no longer is about me being perfect. I know I’m not but sometimes will try to get there. Then I remember that is a futile aim. Instead, self care is a way to take responsibility for your flaws and accept the covering and security God’s love offers, and extend some of that grace to yourself.  

This kind of life takes a lot of courage, because it isn’t avoidance.  Like the artist who studies a medium, you have to know all the quirks and tricks to work with a specific medium. You have to dig into the limitations to fully understand them.  The same holds true for the state of our souls. We have to face our flaws with courage and a graceful curiosity. Not condemnation, but a conviction to understand so that we can live out at our max potential. To know when to let go control and surrender and in that space find full freedom.

That is the choice each of us are faced with: face your flaws or avoid them.  Avoidance only leads to conflict and dysfunction because we are willingly living in ignorance.  On the other hand facing your flaws, owning your limitations and therefore being set free from a small life comes with a life that no longer seeks perfection. Living a life that operates in love is not for the faint of heart.  You have to have love to face the darkest parts of yourself and still have grace. However, what I have seen from those who do this, and the more that I step into this myself, is that there is no greater connector to others than the realization that they are not in the process alone.  We all feel exposed and naked when we seek to grow, but the beautiful part is with healthy love we can move beyond that and live out a masterpiece of a life.